Bar Fights and Personal Injury in Ohio
A night out to the local bar with friends or family should be a pleasant experience void of chaos and drama and usually a good time is had by everyone. Every once in a while, however, an altercation happens because some hothead misconstrues an action or remark and decides to get physical. You have been sitting there, minding your own business and enjoying your evening out, when suddenly you are hit by a flying bottle which breaks and causes serious lacerations to your head and face.
Standing up to protect yourself, your attacker starts swinging at you, striking you viciously, causing personal injury to you. This was not an agreed upon fight which the law calls “mutual affray,” so the person is going to be liable to you under intentional tort principles.
However, it may not be worth suing your attacker if they have no money or insurance; but you still have recourse against the club where the incident took place.
Bar patrons are, legally, invitees and as such are entitled to remain safe while at the bar, or on the bar’s premises such as the parking lot. Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, you must prove that the bar owner, or employees such as the bartender or the bouncer were somehow negligent in maintaining your safety while on their premises. This type of altercation is usually caused by an intoxicated person that does not handle their drinks well; some are happy drunks, some are sad drunks and some are just plain mean drunks!
The bar is legally obligated to monitor the alcohol they serve to an individual by taking note of their demeanor and making an educated assumption of when enough is enough! If they let the customer get so drunk they became a menace to the other patrons in the bar, it would be considered negligence.
The bar owner also has a duty to provide sufficient security for its patrons. The type and amount of security would be in direct proportion to the amount of crime in the neighborhood, the clientele of the club, and the number of incidents that happen on a regular basis.
These security measures may include increased lighting in the parking lots, escorting patrons to their cars or having more than one security person or bouncer to diminish the incidence of altercations. Lack of adequate security provisions in accordance with the needs of the establishment can also be used to further a claim of negligence.
If your injuries were severe enough to warrant major medical bills and lost time from work, you need to contact an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney to handle your case. You should immediately report the incident to the owner of the bar, or manager if not available; if you are able, get the contact numbers of witnesses to the incident including statements about how your attacker was behaving prior to the fight such as slurring their words or staggering.
Documenting your version of what happened by calling the police can be a valuable asset in court, and give your attorney the proof they need to get you just compensation.